Bengawan Solo

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“Begawan Solo, Your history attracts the attention of many”

Most of you must have already guessed what’s the right up is about. Yes it’s about the famous Indonesian folk song ‘Bengawan Solo’.

The song is about the Solo River (alternatively, Bengawan Solo, with Bengawan being an Old Javanese word for river) which is about 600 KM long flows through central and eastern Java, Indonesia. The song was written in year 1940 by Gesang Martohartono in local kroncong  (the name of a ukulele-like instrument) style a popular folk style in Indonesia.Bengawan Solo

The writer Gesang Martohartono who’s originally from central Java compose Bengawan Solo with his bamboo flute when he was very young and started singing at local functions and gatherings in his home town Surakarta. The song Bengawan Solo eventually got very famous among the local community and was broadcasted to a wider audience by radio stations.

At the time Japanese soldiers who occupied the country during World War II brought “Bengawan Solo” home with them to Japan after the war where the song reached rest of Asia & worldwide later on becoming very famous.

Lyrics & Translation 

Bengawan Solo
Bengawan Solo
Riwayatmu ini
This history of yours
Sedari dulu jadi
Since a long time ago, you have
Perhatian insani
Attracted people’s attention

Musim kemarau
In dry season
Tak seberapa airmu
Your have little water
Di musim hujan air
In rainy season, water
Meluap sampai jauh
Overflows far away

Mata airmu dari Solo
Your spring from Solo
Terkurung Gunung Seribu
Is isolated by Seribu Mount
Air meluap sampai jauh
Water overflows far away
Dan akhirnya ke laut
And finally reaches the sea

Itu perahu
That boat
Riwayatnya dulu
Its history in the past
Kaum pedagang selalu
The merchants always
Naik itu perahu
Rode the boat

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One thought on “Bengawan Solo

  1. Bengawan Solo brings back old memories. It is with happiness we treasure most of the Indonesian Songs we use to hear at the Embassy functions during my tenure of service from 1967 to 1977 at 23, Alfred Place, Colombo 03. May Allah bless all the Ambassadors, Charge d’ Affaires and the loving Indonesian Officials and their families who were very loving and supportive during my short stint with them.

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